What is our primary use case?
I am generally using them for bringing up websites and servers for customers. Oftentimes, a company will want their own mail server and/or web server, and I will use Linode for that. It is extremely convenient and easy for me to do this. I really like how they are set up. They just seem to do everything right.
How has it helped my organization?
It is a very cost-effective solution. It allows me to give high availability. Having it be a VM instead of a dedicated piece of hardware is extremely valuable in the fact that they are very proactive about their monitoring. There have been several times where I have seen them migrate a VM from a server that was having problems onto a new server. I have had that happen a couple of times over the years that I have been with Linode.
The service has helped our organization accelerate innovation because, in certain cases, I have wanted to try something new. So, I would just spin up a VM briefly for a short period of time to try some things on it and see how it worked, then I could just turn it off again. It basically made me a rapid prototyping environment so I could try new things and get stuff working pretty quickly.
What needs improvement?
Linode offers worldwide coverage via multiple data centers, which is very important to me. I would like to see more European offerings. I know they have Frankfurt available right now. I would personally like to see more data centers throughout Europe or Eastern Europe available.
They could have more international servers. There are certain places throughout Europe and Eastern Europe which are very open to doing a lot of technology business, such as Romania. Romania is very open to technology. At other service providers, I have stuff in Romania. I think there are some Eastern European locations that would be more open to it. So, if they could have more European points of presence, that would be more helpful.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using them for quite some time, at least five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
They are very stable. I am very pleased. I have always experienced good stability with their stuff. For the servers that I have used, they have always been very stable. I have always noticed them to be very proactive when they do detect a problem. Migration from there to a different server has always been rather quick.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The scalability is very easy because I can pay some money, reboot the machine, and now I have the upgrade. It is done. It is very simple. I am always pleased with that.
There are about 10 machines or so that are currently running. I have some customers who have two servers and others with one server.
How are customer service and technical support?
I don't often have to use their support because the machines are so stable. I may have to talk to support once a year, which is not very often at all. When I do deal with them, having it be 24/7 is not terribly critical to me because I usually only do this work during regular work hours anyway. I have noticed there have been times where towards the end of the day, I would create a ticket or be in a conversation with one of them, then they would answer me well after business hours and be available for that. However, in general, I haven't had to use their support a whole lot in the first place because it just runs and works.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I have used a company in Europe called IntoVPS. Some of my colleagues have used Vultr. So, my friends and I have used a couple other services, but I keep coming back to Linode.
IntoVPS had offerings that were just incompatible. They were using Zen Solutions for a while, and I found compatibility issues with it. When I used them, they didn't seem to have a mature product offering that did what I wanted. I felt like I was always working around one of their limitations.
My other friends have used Vultr, and they're pretty happy with it. I have not set up anything personally for my own customers on Vultr yet, but from what I see and heard, they seem to like Vultr a lot too. Vultr has a lot of European points of presence. If I was going to sign up for a Vultr account, it would be because they have more locations in Europe than Linode does. That would be my only motivation at this point, since I don't have personal experience with them.
How was the initial setup?
Setting up with Linode is very easy. I will pick the size of the VM that I want and usually use a CentOS 7 distribution. Once I have that, I will usually just be able to run. If I am bringing something up that is sort of a cookie-cutter server, then I can run my Ansible scripts against it, then it is very rapid. In a matter of minutes, I can go from having nothing to having a functional server that I can log into and start putting the customer's data onto it.
The setup process is usually either:
- Simply select the distribution and start using it.
- Run some Ansible scripts to do some of those tasks ahead of time.
It is extremely simple. One of the big things that I really like about Linode is how simple, quick, and easy the solution is to get working.
It takes less than a day to spin up an environment. I will go from having nothing to having a fully functional customer website or mail server. It takes less than a work day. In fact, it is usually about half a work day. I will do it in the afternoon. I will start the machine and configure it, then it will be done in a very short time. By the end of the day, it is done and working. I am ready for the customers' users to start using it. It is very quick.
What was our ROI?
Linode is a very high value for what you are paying. I have brought up a number of the $5 and $10 a month servers, and customers have generally been very happy with those. I am not expecting the world from the servers because they are only $5 or $10 a month servers, but I am not asking for too much from them. It really works out well. Even on low-end systems at $5 and $10 a month, it is very well done.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Because of the way that their pricing model is set up, I can scale up or down the size of a customer's server very easily. It makes life very easy for me when they run out of space, need more speed or RAM, etc. I can very easily pay the difference and reboot the machine, and now I have the upgrade that I wanted. That just makes it extremely simple.
It is important to me that the provider offers a relatively small, but well-focused, set of cloud computing services. I can start off a very small customer at $5 a month, then scale them up from there. I have done that numerous times. I started off a customer on a $10 month server, and now they are on a $80 month server. Being able to scale up like that is very valuable to me.
The pricing model is very simple. I like the simplicity of it, starting at $5, then doubling as it goes up from there. That is a brilliant idea, and it is not complex at all. It is about as dead simple as you can imagine. So, if you want to double what you have, then you double your price, pay the money, and reboot. It is done. It's that simple. You can't beat that.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
At this point in the game, Linode is pretty much the only VM provider that I recommend for my customers to use. It is the only place where I put stuff that I have out there for different customers. So, I am pretty sold on Linode. I have tried a couple of other services, but Linode is the one that I keep coming back to right now.
Looking at IntoVPS and what they provide, Linode is saving me money. I have found that IntoVPS has some strange pricing because they have a diverse offering of different virtualization technologies; there is too much to pick from. I would rather just have one thing that works properly, like Linode, and just use that. Compared to IntoVPS, Linode is much better.
Compared to Vultr, it is pretty much almost exactly the same. The only thing that might be a difference is Linode has a range of compute servers where the Vultr offering for high-frequency compute nodes has a different pricing scheme. That is about the only difference.
A lot of these other providers out there really do not have their acts together. Linode has done a great job in simplifying everything to the point where it is just simple and easy. I learned to stick with what works, which is Linode.
What other advice do I have?
Go for it. I would recommend Linode. Don't be afraid to try out the cheaper, smaller systems for whatever you are running. Pick the system that meets your system requirements as best as possible, but you really can save. I would recommend it because you can save a lot of money as well as time and hassle.
I would rather pay just a little bit more and have a hassle-free operation than to pay less and be faced with support issues. I don't like having to deal with support. I don't like having to bring in anybody else to help me debug something. So, I look at Linode as everything just works. It is a very cheap price, depending on what you're getting. It can be scaled up and down very easily. So, it has exceptional value.
I would rate this solution as a 10 (out of 10).